A potentially busy week began on a good note Tuesday for the Pekin baseball team.
The Dragons drubbed visiting East Peoria 10-0 at Harry Anderson Field in a Mid-Illini Conference game halted in the bottom of the fifth inning because of the run rule.
Bryson Swift tossed the shutout, allowing only three hits and one walk and striking out nine.
The bigger story for the Dragons was their hitting.
After averaging nearly eight strikeouts a game coming into the day, Pekin (6-3, 2-2) fanned just four times against East Peoria (2-8, 0-4) while getting nine hits.
“East Peoria helped us keep innings going with three errors and four walks, but we hit better,” said Pekin coach Larry Davis. “We got our bats on the ball.”
A good example of putting the ball in play was Pekin’s four-run fourth inning, when Michael Ellwanger and Swift each had a sacrifice fly to go along with Jon Kuethe’s RBI single.
Nathan Righi and Ellwanger each had an RBI single in the Dragons’ four-run third inning.
Cole Russell and Righi each had two hits including a double for Pekin and Braden Lavin had a double.
Pekin and East Peoria were supposed to play Monday at Harry Anderson Field, but the game was postponed to Tuesday. The teams were scheduled to play Wednesday at EastSide Centre, but the game was postponed until next Tuesday.
The Dragons are scheduled to play host to Canton on Thursday in a conference game rescheduled from April 9 and travel to Galesburg on Friday for a non-conference game.
Pekin’s non-conference home game last Friday against Bloomington was postponed. No makeup date has been set.
GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD: The Pekin girls track and field team has only two home meets this season.
The first was the Dragon Relays on March 31. The second -- and last -- was a Mid-Illini Conference meet Tuesday against Washington and Limestone.
It was Senior Day for the Dragons, and they honored four-year athletes Jayna Riley and Cami Muth and three-year athlete Sydni Hayes.
Washington won the meet with 81 points. Pekin had 61 and Limestone had 39.
“We finally had great weather. It was a bit cold, but there was no wind and lots of sun,” said Pekin coach Christina MacEwan. “Our girls did a great job. We’re all happy with their effort.”
Pekin’s Hope Watts won three individual events, taking the 100 (:13.1), 200 (:26.31) and 400 (1:04.03). The Dragons’ Gabi Salazar won shot put (33-.5) and discus (114-4).
Paige Arseneau swept the distance events for Pekin, winning the 1600 (5:32.42) and 3200 (11:40.6).
The Dragons are scheduled to compete Friday in the Limestone Invitational.
SOFTBALL: Pekin softball coach Skip Penning talks often about the importance of playing seven good innings.
The Dragons had one bad inning Tuesday and lost 5-1 to visiting Washington in a Mid-Illini Conference game.
The Panthers scored all five of their runs in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of two Pekin errors. The big hit in the inning was a three-run triple by winning pitcher Kayana Diederich.
“We played great defense except for that inning,” Penning said. “And (Pekin pitcher) Lexi Juergens threw a gem. She deserved to win.
“Washington is a great team, a well-coached team. We did a good job putting the ball in play against them, but they made the plays when they had to in all seven innings.”
Saylor Marchand and Savannah Budd each had two hits for Washington. Diederich allowed four hits and fanned 11 in a complete-game effort.
Pekin (2-6, 2-2) scored its lone run in the second inning on an RBI double by Molly Flannigan that brought home Noelle Bowling, who had doubled.
Freshman Grace Wyman continued to do an admirable job filling in for injured Pekin leftfielder Hannah McDonald (knee). Penning said he hopes McDonald, who was hurt in pre-game warm-ups April 10 at East Peoria, can return next week.
Pekin is scheduled to play Thursday at conference foe Metamora.
GIRLS SOCCER: Oh, Dearing.
Peyton Dearing scored twice and assisted on a goal by Elli Short, leading Morton past visiting Pekin 3-0 Tuesday in a Mid-Illini Conference girls soccer game at McClallen Park.
“Dearing is a threat every time she has the ball,” said Pekin coach Edgar Sandoval. “We made three mistakes against her and to her credit, she took advantage of them.”
Sandoval said his team (6-3, 2-2) had some chances to score early against Morton, including a couple of corner kicks in the first 30 minutes, but couldn’t finish.
Ahead 1-0 at halftime on Short’s goal at 34:38, Morton pulled away in the second half on Dearing’s two unassisted goals (57:49 and 64:49).
Pekin goalie Paige Smith made nine saves. Morton goalie Kathryn Rochford made five saves.
Next for the Dragons is the Pekin Invitational tournament Friday and Saturday at Coal Miners Park.
“We’d like to build on some positives from the (Morton) game and clean up some things so we can have a good showing in our tournament,” Sandoval said.
BOYS TENNIS: Washington won each match in straight sets Tuesday as the Panthers beat host Pekin 9-0 in a Mid-Illini Conference boys tennis competition at John Moss Courts.
Jake Valencic beat Brendan Guenther 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 singles and Valensic and Caden Sharp beat Guenther and Peyton Swearingen 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles.
Pekin was scheduled to face non-conference foe Peoria Notre Dame on Wednesday at the John Moss Courts, but the match was postponed until Thursday.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.